Monday, October 08, 2012

KATV Sports Director Remembers Matt Turner the Sports Intern

KATV Steve Sullivan Some knew him as a former Arkadelphia football player, the son of a pastor.  Others knew Matt Turner as a highly, successful news anchor at KNWA in Northwest Arkansas.  Here in Central Arkansas, people where just getting to know Matt as a news anchor at KTHV.  I was just getting used to Matt Turner, the news anchorman.

Matt's passion was sports. I don't remember the year, but I do remember that Paul Goza was the quarterback for Arkadelphia, when Matt spent a summer and fall as my sports intern.  We shared a passion for high school sports , and Matt came up with an idea for a sports documentary. He decided to follow the Arkadelphia football team from pre-season drills to their post-season football banquet.

He did all the work and I did the voiceover.  He thought having my voice on the tape would help sell more tapes.  I wish he was right.  The final product wasn't exactly an ESPN 30 for 30 production , but it was exceptional work for a sports intern.  It's been several years, but you can still find that beta tape above my desk.  That project is a Matt Turner memory that will last a lifetime.

Shortly after leaving Channel 7 , Matt landed a job with Mike Nail in the KNWA sports office.  It was around that time that Matt started dealing with a " mystery " illness.  He woke up one day and couldn't move.  Matt attacked his illness like the Arkadelphia documentary. He was relentless. He traveled all over the country seeing the best doctors looking for answers.  He was a young man dealing with a serious health problem.  A son who watched his Dad die of Leukemia.

Just about every twitter message I sent to Matt started with a question, "How are you feeling?".  My hope was that someday I would click on a message from Matt, and he would say he was feeling great.  I never got that message. Matt had his good days and bad days, but he never let his health interfere with his drive to succeed on and off the air.

Julee, Preslee and Romeo.  Julee was Matt's loving, blogging wife ( Her blog is a must read). She was Matt's partner in the mission to solve his medical mystery.  Preslee is their miracle child.  The most photographed , 10 month old girl in the United States. Then there's Romeo, Matt and Julee's ping pong playing dog, who actually made an appearance on one of my sportscasts.

Today, it's hard to not think about Julee, Preslee and Romeo . Last night, Matt died in a one car accident on his way to Arkadelphia.  I'll miss Matt.


At 3:14 PM, October 08, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. So young and a very gifted anchorman. RIP brother

At 6:46 AM, October 09, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the disease-- has anyone said or did they ever find out? Was it a contributing factor in the crash?

At 12:50 PM, October 09, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:46 AM - I was wondering the same thing. Just so sad. He seemed like such a wonderful person. I just keep thinking about his wife and daughter. :(

At 1:04 PM, October 10, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read this, I wondered if he had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an auto immune disorder that causes nerve paralysis. I had a friend who had this and the symptoms sound the same. It can be hard to diagnose. In his wife's blogpost, she says that the driver behind Matt says Matt never hit his brakes. Makes you wonder if something had happened to him before the crash.

At 11:05 AM, October 18, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did nobody an THV not know about Matt Turners disease until the funeral when KNWA knew about all along . Wouldnt that be something KNWA would of been responsible of passing along to THV to maybe help him with. I understand Matt not wanting to tell but his previous employer should of told THV after they hired him to maybe make his work environment easier and find a cure.

At 12:14 AM, October 21, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has the above poster ever heard of HIPPA? Big lawsuit could result if KNWA divulged any health history of anyone.

See post on this forum about the KATV personality.

At 12:17 AM, October 21, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

*Sorry. Should have read HIPAA Act.


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